I’ve been using social media in my job for a long time but it was only when I created my author accounts that I really started thinking about what I was doing.
We’ve all done it. Tweeted a link to buy our book and then sat back and expected everyone to immediately descend on Amazon.
But when that doesn’t happen and we consider how quickly our tweet got lost amongst the millions of tweeters all shouting at the same time, we go the other way and start mass tweeting, scheduling random tweets daily, hourly even, with a link to buy the book.
Occasionally we throw in a quoted positive review basically saying:
hey everyone, someone said I’m great.
Which makes us look like an arrogant self-absorbed asshole!
As authors, shouldn’t we be capable of composing an interesting tweet that would spark some interest, a RT or even a response? I’ve made several Twitter friends with whom I engage with daily and if it wasn’t for them I’d find Twitter very dull, because by the time I’ve skimmed past all the tweets vying for my attention, trying to tell me how awesome people think their novel is, there’s very little left except the tweets in which I’ve been mentioned.
Social media is one of those what it says on the tin, things. It’s social, it’s about interacting with people. Sharing information and then engaging with the feedback. Otherwise what’s the point?
I don’t want to be sold to. I want to follow people with something interesting to say. As soon as we start to recognise the Twitter habits we hate in other people, we should look at whether we are guilty of the same.
If all I ever do is ask people to buy my book and tell them how great other people think it is, then I’m basically the Twitter equivilant of a cold caller who gets constantly hung up on because real people don’t want their time wasted listening to me trying to sell them something they don’t want!
Look in your list of follows… If you’re an author, I bet you followed loads of other authors in the hope they’d follow you back and retweet your tweets to all their fans?
But you know what those authors are doing? Trying to sell their book. They’re not even reading your tweets. Chances are they don’t even go on Twitter, probably just use Buffer or HooteSuite to bulk schedule tweets for a week in advance. Variations of “my book is now available here…” Or “5 stars for my novel, buy it here.”
Joining groups on Facebook and Goodreads that offer authors space to promote their books, is also pointless, because again, it’s just a group of authors talking about their own book but not paying attention to anyone else. A waste of time.
Book clubs constantly complain about people joining just to promote their novels. They don’t engage or discuss books in general. They just publicise their book then disappear again. Job done.
Social media is about being sociable. Engaging with your readers and potential readers and allowing them to get to know you and your writing style.
If authors put a little of themselves into their characters then surely allowing potential readers to get to know them is the best possible publicity for their fictional world and its inhabitants.
I tell my clients all the time: if you’re not going to do it properly, there’s no point in having an account. Stop viewing Twitter as a marketing tool and start getting to know some people.
What’s your experience of Social media? Share your thoughts below.